Donations pour in for family that lost mobile home in fire

January 03, 1996|By Ed Heard | Ed Heard,SUN STAFF

A Clarksville family that lost its mobile home in a fire Saturday morning has received donations of food, clothing, furniture, school supplies and cash from members of the community who learned of the family's plight.

Barry Gill, 39, his wife, Beryl, 28, and son Jamie, 6, lost $40,000 in property, two cats and a rabbit when their home caught fire in the 5100 block of Shepards Lane about 8 a.m. Saturday. Mr. Gill suffered burns to his hands while rescuing a dog, said Ken Byerly, a spokesman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue.

When word of their misfortune spread, scores of people and some businesses responded, said Linda Chappell, a family friend taking most of the calls for donations. "People have been wonderful," Ms. Chappell said. "This has been inspiring."

The state fire marshal's office is investigating whether a furnace may have caused the fire. About 25 fire personnel from the Clarksville, Banneker and West Friendship stations battled the fire, but could not snuff out the strong flames, fire officials said.

The mobile home was on a horse farm, where the Gills helped care for horses, as well as their four dogs, three cats and other pets, said fire Chaplain George Grimm. The fire did not damage any other part of the farm.

The Red Cross obtained a room for the Gills at the Columbia Inn through Monday, and yesterday the family was expected to go to an Ellicott City hotel. The family could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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